Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Cough Associated With Blood Pressure Medicine More Common in Diabetics

By
WebMD Health News

Sept. 24, 1999 (Cleveland) -- A type of blood pressure medication that has been shown to help prevent the kidney damage associated with type 2 diabetes may cause an annoying, hacking, dry cough in as many as 15% of diabetics who take it, according to a survey done by a team of Italian researchers. The survey findings are reported in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

The medication, called an ACE inhibitor, includes such drugs as Vasotec (enalapril), Capoten (captopril), and Prinivil (lisinopril). ACE inhibitors have been shown to be the most effective medication for controlling blood pressure in diabetics. High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes often occur hand-in-hand, and the combination can damage the kidneys, eventually causing kidney failure.

In the survey, Pier Luigi Malini, MD, associate professor of medical therapeutics at the University of Bologna, tells WebMD that of the diabetic patients who reported the cough, only about 5% asked to be taken off the drug because of it. None of the patients involved in the study were aware that Malini's team was investigating cough.

Malini tells WebMD that one very intriguing finding was that the 5% who did stop taking the medication because of the cough were among the few patients who knew it was a side effect.

"This point is extremely interesting. Certainly awareness of the possibility of a side effect increases the chances that a patient might declare it," Malini says. "There are some patients who read the leaflet that accompanies the medication box, and the next time you see them they declare all the symptoms written."

But the fact that some patients did not know about the cough is troubling, says Malini, because it suggests that the physicians treating them did not fully explain the drug. Failure to discuss the side effects of medications is "a major problem in chronic diseases: Side effects that do not endanger the lives of patients but may worsen the quality of life are often ignored," Malini says. He adds that this lack of attention to comfort or quality of life often leads patients to stop taking needed drugs.

Better communication between patients and doctors about possible side effects will probably help, according to Malini. He says that there are other options available for people who experience the cough and who discuss this side effect with their physicians.

The same researchers presenting the current findings previously found that just 7.4% of patients without diabetes who were taking an ACE inhibitor developed the drug-induced cough.

 

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article